By Audrey Quinn
Picture this: it’s a beautiful morning, you’ve just brewed your hot beverage of choice, and the air is clear and bright with the promise of a gorgeous new day.
You finally have some time to yourself, and you decide to sink down in your favorite padded chair in your office with the floor-to-ceiling windows with fancy emerald-colored drapes that sweep across your solid white oak floors.
You open your moleskin notebook or Macbook Pro, and say to yourself, “I’m going to work on my writing today!”
But then, it hits you. You have no clue how to get started, or what to write.
Writer’s block hits everyone at some point
Despite the universe delivering you the perfect day, the perfect time, and the perfect setting (as if the universe was actually some guy setting the scene for a decidedly less-than-perfect but hopefully amusing blog post), you’re stumped on what to write. Utterly bamboozled. Even the Red-Crested Woodpecker outside your floor-to-ceiling window with the fancy green drapes is laughing at you for this predicament.
Maybe you don’t have fancy emerald window dressings, white oak floors, or a Red-Crested Woodpecker, but you do have writer’s block, and you can’t seem to find a way out of it.
So, what is one to do in this situation?
Luckily, there’s a method that helps many people break out of their writing rut, and it’s called writing prompts.
Beating back the block with writing prompts
You can find writing prompts almost anywhere.
Some are focused in a specific genre, such as poetry, or left ambiguous so you have the freedom to decide what genre to answer the prompt in. They can also be focused around certain subjects, such as animals and nature, scenes between fictional characters in different situations, and even self-reflection.
Or, they can be random. Look around the room your in right now and name the first three things you see. There: you’ve got a writing prompt. Now, go! Wait, no. Keep reading this blog post.
Their purpose: take the pressure off you, the writer, to come up with that first spark of creativity that lets you get started with your writing. You just pick the prompt, go with it, and see what results!
How to use writing prompts
Some people use writing prompts as part of their writing routine. They set aside a certain amount of time, pick a writing prompt, and follow it for that amount of time.
Having a routine that incorporates writing prompts encourages your brain to make writing a habit. The more you do it, the more you’ll find your brain making new connections that generate original ideas for your stories! This helps break down that familiar enemy of writer’s block.
You don’t have to use writing prompts all the time either. If you feel stuck, but you want to write something, they’re a great way to get the momentum going so you can create something new.
Another great thing about writing prompts is that even if you gave the same prompt to a hundred different people, you’ll get a hundred different stories! This makes writing prompts a great exercise to do in groups, whether you decide to get together with some writing friends in-person or remotely. Try it, and compare all of your answers! Talking to other writers can also help you get some feedback for your writing, and even generate new ideas for your writing in the future.
So the next time you feel that familiar wall of writer’s block rising up before you, don’t waste your time yelling at that Red-Crested Woodpecker for laughing at your plight. Try using some writing prompts!
You can find some excellent sources for writing prompts at the websites below:
DIY MFA Writer Igniter: https://diymfa.com/writer-igniter/
Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompts: https://www.writersdigest.com/prompts
Poets & Writers Writing Prompts: https://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises
Upcoming classes you might enjoy
Join Rainbow Reads–a young adult LGBTQIA2S+ book group for Lane County teens hosted by Wordcrafters in Eugene in partnership with the Eugene Public Library!
Starts Dec 2 | Learn to write immersive stories intuitively in this 9-month online intensive fiction writing program.
Tuesdays 9:15-11:45 am | Get the butt in chair time you need to get your writing done.
2nd Thursdays, 7-9 pm | Share your words at our monthly open mic emceed by spoken word poet Jorah LaFleur
From November to March, Join the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House and more to read, talk about, and create art around Roz Chast’s memoir in comics, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant.
Dec 7 | Take time to reflect on your writing and make goals for next year.